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Cargill supports apartment project

Friona, like most small towns, has always had a rental shortage. Not all residents who transfer into Friona want to buy a home and rental units are often scarce or unaffordable. That situation is about to change thanks to the efforts of the Friona Economic Development Corporation (FEDC) and Cargill Meat Solutions.

Cargill has been in the forefront of the housing dilemma. With near 2,000 employees at the Friona plant, most of the employees commute to cities such as Clovis, Hereford, Dimmitt, and Amarillo. Cargill feels more of their employees would live in Friona if housing was available.

Several months ago the FEDC purchased most of a city block in Friona bordered by 6th and 7th Streets between Ashland and Woodland. The lots were bought for $35,000 from Whaley family heirs. Plans were to seek out a builder willing to invest in apartments on the property.

Last week Cargill reimbursed the FEDC the $35,000 for the property and announced an agreement with a builder from Clovis to construct up to 32 apartment units on the lots. The builder will be allowed to begin construction on the land even though he does not own it. An agreement will allow the builder to begin construction and once he has fulfilled a specified number of units the FEDC will deed the land over. Friona Mayor Rick White, Cargill’s training manager, conceded that the “free land” was an incentive to attract a qualified builder to the project.

Cargill believes the apartments will attract employees who currently commute to the Friona plant to move to Friona. It was stressed, however, that the apartment units will be available to rent to the public, not just for Cargill employees. If this project is successful, Cargill says the builder will consider additional construction projects in Friona.

Groundbreaking for the venture will be held within the next couple of weeks.